“Who stole the coconut?” did not catch on, “Tropical Paradise” is now the name of the drink served in a coconut half. But it only looks like a drink at first glance. The coconut shell is cast from chocolate couverture and then roughened with a wire brush. It has a filling of passion fruit and butter cream on a coconut dough base, and the white decorative orchid and drinking straw are also made of chocolate.
The nose almost bathes in the scent of chocolate, here in the workrooms of the Munich master school for confectioners, which shares a large building on Simon-Knoll-Platz, near Rosenheimer Platz, with the city’s vocational schools for the hotel, restaurant and brewing trades , for the bakery and confectionery trade and for the butcher trade. The 24 prospective master confectioners in their white jackets, white aprons and white caps or towels around their hair have been stirring, baking and decorating for days. They are divided into eight teams, each producing 33 copies of their cake. The Association for the Promotion and Fundraising of the Bavarian Confectioners’ Guild will receive a good 250 cakes and raffle them this Friday at the International Handicrafts Fair in Hall B3. The proceeds from this already traditional “cake gala” flow to the SZ Advent calendar for good works.
Each team came up with its own ingredients, taste and appearance. “The good thing here is that you can try things out, experiment,” says Thomas Lugeder, the technical director of the master school, “later on in the company there is little time for that, because day-to-day business overwhelms you.” Katharina Korb, 26, Benedikt Karner, 27, and Matthias Ledermann, 23, quickly agreed on what they wanted to do and called it “sweet raspberry in a dark dress”. One roll of biscuit dough with baked raspberries and a dash of raspberry spirit (the latter “for better shelf life”, Karner assures with a grin) after the other, they now cover them with a dark chocolate ganache at the long work table covered by a granite slab, add chocolate chips, resembling roof shingles. The icing on the cake: a bow, also made of chocolate, of course.
How many calories does such a roll have? “You don’t want to know that…”
How many calories does such a roll have? “You don’t even want to know that…”, laughs Karner. However, Lugeder notes, the trend is towards less sugar and less fat. “And as a confectioner, you can’t get past vegan/vegetarian either.” One of his former master students, he says, even specialized in vegan patisserie and recently gave a course here.
The “Treasure Chest” team also opted for lots of fruit flavor and little sugar. A dark purple cassis and salted caramel mixture comes in a chocolate box with a wood grain look. The decorations for the treasure chests are already on tin: gray manta rays and pink starfish made of marzipan. An octopus should then slip over the top. Another team designs their cake like a tree stump, decorated with small marzipan birds. Incidentally, an airbrush is used for the colorful decorative flowers, melted cocoa butter mixed with food coloring can be dusted wafer-thin on the deceptively real-looking structures made of white couverture.
A scalpel is even used at the table next to Karner, Korb and Ledermann. Each of the 33 Baumkuchen of this team is crowned by the Munich skyline, filigreely punched out of chocolate, each silhouette is now freed from the last bumps with a scalpel; a knife would be too rough for the matchstick-thin turrets. The work is called “Schickeria”. Baumkuchen, Thomas Lugeder interjects, looks so simple, but the production “has it all”. That’s why tree cake is also one of the exam tasks, along with ice cream cake, marzipan figures, six types of chocolates, petits fours and this year also puff pastry. The prospective master confectioners even have to cook four dishes in the practical test. “Small cooking” is part of their training, after all, many cafés also offer lunch.
The 24 young men and women have already passed their theory test, and in July they will have to prove what they have learned in one year in the practical part. Also Benedict Karner. He says he dropped out of high school after eleventh grade because he got an apprenticeship as a confectioner at Feinkost Käfer. After his apprenticeship, he also worked in the party service, spent a while at the Kempinski on Maximilianstrasse and in Switzerland for a while. And is now putting the finishing touches to his skills at the master school. “Why a high school diploma? I wouldn’t even have known what to study,” he says. “And I haven’t regretted it for a minute.”
Then the 27-year-old turns back to a finished raspberry and chocolate roll that is lying on a foil – and shakes it back and forth vigorously on the worktop a few times. “The shaking test!” he explains. After all, the elaborately and imaginatively produced works of art have to survive being transported by truck to the exhibition center on Friday morning undamaged.